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BJP launches Sabrimala yatra,Ker unit chief booked over speech

Press Trust of India  |  Thiruvananthapuram/Kozhikode 

BJP P S Sreedharan was booked on Thursady by the police for his speech in connection with protests on a day when the saffron party launched a "Rath Yatra" for "protecting" the Lord Ayyappa temple's traditions and rituals.

The case was registered by police in Kozhikode on a complaint by alleging that had instigated activists to protest over entry of menstrual women into the hill shrine recently, police said.

Reacting to it, Pillai, accused the CPI(M) and of 'witch hunting' and trying to 'tarnish' his image.

The development came even as the BJP-NDA embarked on a Rath yatra from Kasaragod to "protect" the traditions and rituals of the hill shrine at Sabarimala, which recently witnessed violent protests against the entry of women of in the 10-50 group.

BJP, which has been desperately trying to make its presence felt in the bi-polar political scenario of Kerala, has lent its support to the agitation against the LDF government's decision to implement the order allowing women of all ages to offer prayers at the temple.

and Tushar Vellapally, of BDJS, an ally of the NDA in Kerala, are leading the 'Samrakshana Rath Yatra' from Kasaragod to Erumeli, which was flagged off by senior BJP and former B S Yeddyurappa.

The government should "apply its mind" and show seriousness to resolve the impasse at Sabarimala, Yeddyurappa said.

"We are not against the SC verdict. But sentiments of the people should be respected by one and all," he said.

Police said Pillai has been booked under section 505 (1) (B) of IPC (intent to incite or which is likely to incite persons to commit any offence), a non-cognizable offence, in connection with his November 4 address to BJP Yuva Morcha workers in Kozhikide.

TV channels last week aired a video clip in which Pillai had purportedly said the agitations were "planned and orchestrated" by the party as part of its "agenda" and was a "golden opportunity" for the saffron party.

He had also said that (Head Priest) of the had sought his opinion on closing the sanctum sanctorum to prevent women of menstrual from entering the shrine when it opened from Oct 17-22, kicking up a huge row.

Meanwhile, the (TDB), which manages the Ayyappa shrine, has sought an explanation from the tantri, but made it clear that the procedure was just a formality as the had already rejected the claim of Pillai.

Addressing the workers at Mathur in Kasaragod, Pillai Thursday hit out at the CPI(M), alleging that it was trying to destroy the since the past 60 years.

The main opposition also launched a yatra from Kasaragod to Pathnamthitta led by its state unit working K Sudhakaran against the "politicisation" of the Sabarimala issue by the CPI(M) and BJP.

Similar yatras will also be taken out by several leaders from Alapuzha, Thiruvananthapuram, Thodupuzha and Palakkad in the coming days which will culminate on November 15 at Pathnamthitta, in which district the shrine is located.

Taking a dig, said some people have started the two yatras. "We do not know where and when the two processions will join together."

He asserted that the Left government was totally with the believers.

However, it would not tolerate any attempts to create trouble.

has been on a boil after the September 28 Supreme Court verdict permitting women of all age groups into the with right wing and Hindu outfits on a warpath over the state government's decision to go ahead and implement the top court verdict.

The hill shrine had recently witnessed protests by devotees against the attempt by some young women, including journalists, to enter the temple.

The day also saw the coming down on the recent agitation at Sabarimala.

Justice termed the violence as "unjustifiable" and agreed with the state's contention that the protests and violence at the hill shrine and its key entry points were against the apex court directives.

"Agitations are unjustifiable," the court said while dismissing a bail application filed by of Thrippunithura, who was arrested in connection with clashes with the police at Nilackal near Pamba when the temple doors were opened for monthly puja last month.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, November 08 2018. 20:45 IST